Internships in orphanages or orphan care organizations

Students  in our Orphan Care programs are expected to do a field internship as part of their training.

Cameroon, Africa (Dawn Amato) 2014 092

For the internship, the student will work for an orphanage or other orphan care organization that is well established and well run. The Dean of Academics must approve the orphanage before the institute can award credit hours for the work. During this internship, the student will be expected to learn to function at the same level as a manager of the orphanage.

The goal of this program is to give students hands-on experience before they actually go out and start their own orphanages or orphan care ministries. Our Lord Jesus Christ did the same thing with his disciples. His disciples did a three year internship with him. In Luke 10:1-23, we see that Jesus sent his own disciples (internship students) out on field trips. He gave them assignments and taught them how to do it. When they did it, he evaluated them and gave feed back. In Luke 10:17, we see that the disciples returned from this particular assignment and reported to Jesus. Rejoicing, they said “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus gave them feedback correcting their thinking. He tells them in verse 20, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Jesus’ interns spent three years with him and he taught them and corrected their mistakes. He gave them assignments to accomplish, he gave them responsibilities and then supervised and gave them feedback.

The goal was to train them to be able to do it on their own. Jesus gave his disciples power to heal and cast out demons in his name. He didn’t give them power and then left. He first did it for them to see (teaching them how to do it), then he gave them power to do the same thing and was there to give them feedback when they did it. That is crucial to success. In Matthew 17, we see a situation where the disciples couldn’t cast out a demon in the boy. Jesus was right there to help out. Then in Luke 17:19, the disciples went and asked him “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”. Jesus taught them why. It was because of their lack of faith. Some translations of the Bible have Matthew 17:21 “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” What if Jesus wasn’t there?

Imagine that this was an orphanage or any other ministry. What if these disciples rushed to start their orphanage or ministry without an internship? They wouldn’t have had someone with more experience to rescue the situation. What would happen to this boy that could be saved? The boy would die. This happens daily in orphanages all over the world. Because most orphan care workers are untrained, when they make a mistake, the orphans suffer.

Because the disciples went through an internship with Jesus, they learned what to do in the difficult circumstances, yet they didn’t have to kill a child in the process. By the time they were on their own, they already knew how to handle difficult circumstances. Peter went on to do great things in his ministry. His shadow was healing people! (Acts 5:15-16). In Acts 3, Peter is so full of faith that he heals the lame man by grabbing him and lifting him to his feet (Acts 3:1-10). The goal of internship is to help students succeed better than the teacher in their ministry because they can stand on the shoulders of their teacher and see further. Jesus was able to say in John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” He was saying this to his internship students. He was saying to them, ” if you believe in me because of everything I have taught you during this internship, your ministry will succeed more than mine. Why? Because I am going to the father.” In order words, “I have connections. I know people!” You will not only do your own ministry well, but you will use my connections and I will speak to those I know about you so that you will receive favor that you would otherwise not receive. Right now, Jesus is interceding for us who are his disciples (Romans 8:34). That’s what our internship program is designed to do. We not only equip the student to succeed, but we intercede for the student whenever possible and share any wisdom and connections we have so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes we made. Because of that, they will succeed better.

By the time Jesus left them and ascended into heaven, they were ready to function on their own. He had accomplished his goal. He also told them to wait for the Holy Spirit to crown everything. Christian discipleship in every area of calling has been done that way since Jesus first showed that example. Even medical schools, pharmacy schools, nursing schools and many other professional training programs function in the same exact way. Hands-on learning is very important. Young doctors have to see patients under the supervision of older doctors for at least three years before they can graduate to start seeing patients on their own or start their own clinics. In medicine, it’s called a residency program or internship program. Our internships do the same thing providing hands on training for students and providing much needed leadership experience.